Biblical Theology of Marriage and Family: New Testament

Biblical Theology of Marriage and Family: New Testament

JPI 661/861
3 Credits

This course builds on the Old Testament course and provides an introduction to the New Testament with a focus on issues related to marriage and family.  In the New Testament, the notions of the human person, marriage, and family are mediated through Jesus Himself, His teachings, and the apostolic traditions of the early Church. The fundamental question is how the salvific power of Jesus transforms the human person and his relationships such that the family, (which was the former carrier of the covenant in the Old Testament) becomes the domestic church—a sphere where the Holy Spirit is active in bringing about salvation. This course includes an examination of the concept of the Messianic family (see Jn 19), an extensive analysis of Mt 19 which helps ground the indissolubility of marriage, and an examination of the structure and meaning of baptism (see Rom 6) by which the new creation in Christ comes about. Other themes include the key role of Abraham in the new covenant, the necessity of justification, and the transformation of the moral life by the death and resurrection of Christ—including the marriage bond, issues of same-sex attraction, divorce, sexual behavior, and the role of virginity. This careful exegesis of key biblical passages will provide the foundation for understanding the dynamic effect that Christ has on the person and on human relationships.

Selected Texts


Joseph Atkinson portrait

Joseph C. Atkinson

Associate Professor of Sacred Scripture
S.T.L. and S.T.D. Program Advisor

Dr. Atkinson’s work has included foundational research in developing the biblical and theological foundation of the family. He is a primary authority on the concept of the Domestic Church, which explores the ecclesial structure and meaning of the family. He teaches on the biblical structure and meaning of marriage and the family, on the Jewish background of the family, and on the nature and role of covenant.

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